India Smartphone Market Readies Itself for Festive Sales After a Bumpy Ride in Past Three Quarters

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The FINANCIAL — The latest International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker reports that 28 million smartphones were shipped to India in Q22017, which is a modest 3.7 percent Quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth and a meagre 1.6 percent Year-on-year (YoY) growth.

Just as the market had started to recover from the impact of demonetisation from late last year, the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country from July 2017 meant weak sell-in shipments in the second quarter as the focus was on clearing the existing inventory. However, vendors’ proactive steps on absorbing the impact of GST helped to stabilise the sell-in for the month of June.

The third quarter of the year started slowly as the sales channels adjusted to the new taxation system but they quickly recovered within a few weeks. The Indian smartphone market is now preparing for the biggest quarter so far; offline channels have already cleared the old stocks, eTailers are getting ready for mega online festivals, and vendors are set to launch new models in the Diwali festive period.

“The sentiment is indeed positive in the market. All the ambiguities have cleared now, and vendors are gearing up for the upcoming festival season to recover from the slow start in the first half of this year,” says Jaipal Singh , Senior Analyst, IDC India

After three quarters of continuous decline, Indian vendors registered 18 percent QoQ growth in Q22017 but share remains limited to 15 percent of overall smartphone market. On the other hand, China-based vendors, with their massive ongoing marketing spend and channel expansion, further cemented their position with 54 percent market share and registered 9 percent QoQ growth in the Q22017.

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“Indian vendors have shown an early sign of recovery and now when most of them are ready with their 4G product portfolio, a new set of China-based competitors have entered in the sub-US$150 segment” says Upasana Joshi , Senior Analyst, IDC India. “Indian vendors are putting all their efforts and second half of year will be crucial, either it will see a revival of Indian vendors or emergence of new dominance in the sub-$150 segment from China based vendors,” added Joshi.

Samsung retained its leadership position with a marginal decline of 4 percent from the same period of last year. Samsung is already facing pressure from China-based vendors in the mid-tier segment and competition has intensified even more for the vendor as the online-focused vendors have started to strengthen their grip in the offline segment.

Xiaomi secured second place with a healthy 25 percent QoQ growth in Q22017. The vendor continues to expand its offline presence with the opening of Mi homes, Mi authorised stores and partnering with the key large format retail stores. This helped Xiaomi to triple its offline shipments in the second quarter of the year. Also, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4 with over 2 million shipments in Q22017 has become the highest shipped smartphone in a single quarter in the history of Indian smartphone.

vivo remained in third place with 26 percent QoQ growth and captured 13 percent market share in Q22017 – a significant jump from a mere 4 percent market share in the same period last year. New launches coupled with aggressive investments on above-the-line marketing activities and in-shop promotions were the key driving factors.

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OPPO climbed up to the fourth place, though shipments declined by 13 percent QoQ. OPPO has strengthened its portfolio in the US$200-US$300 segment and aggressively positioning itself as a strong competitor in this segment.

Lenovo (including Motorola) slipped to fifth place as its shipments declined 25 percent QoQ. However, its Motorola brand saw a healthy 17 Percent QoQ growth contributed by a couple of new launches at the end of quarter.

Overall mobile phone market shipments saw a modest 6.5 percent QoQ growth after declining consecutively for two quarters. 34 million units of feature phones were shipped in the Q22017 with 8.9 percent growth from the previous quarter but remained flat as compared to the same period last year.


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